Stock markets steady awaiting start of Fed meet
Major stock markets mostly steadied Tuesday, with traders braced for a sharp US interest rate hike to curb soaring inflation.
All eyes are on the conclusion Wednesday of the US Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting, where it is expected to lift borrowing costs by half a percentage point for the first time since 2000.
With the increase widely forecast, investors will be closely looking for clues on the outlook for futures rate rises.
Central banks worldwide are tightening borrowing costs despite concerns such action could hamper financial recovery from the pandemic and even push major economies into recession.
"In a week focused on central bank action, the Bank of England is expected to... (also announce) another rate hike on Thursday, lifting rates to the highest level since 2009," noted Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor.
On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia lifted interest rates 25 basis points, the first hike since 2010 and by more than expected. Officials also indicated further increases were in the pipeline.
The move sent the Australian dollar briefly rallying more than one percent against the greenback before settling back slightly.
In Europe, eurozone stock markets recovered slightly in afternoon deals following sharp losses Monday.
London fell after a long holiday weekend, with investors catching up with losses elsewhere on Monday.
Traders continued to pore over earnings results from some of the world's biggest companies.
British energy giant BP on Tuesday said its decision to pull out of Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine pushed it deep into the red in the first three months of this year.
But its underlying performance was strong thanks to a recent surge in oil and gas prices.
On Tuesday, crude futures declined ahead of a regular meeting this week of OPEC+.
The body comprising the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries plus Russia and other oil-producing nations must decide on output policy amid tight supply fears triggered by the Ukraine war.
- Key figures at around 1130 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.8 percent at 7,482.07 points
Frankfurt - DAX: FLAT at 13,941.15
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.1 percent at 6,428.93
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,729.03
Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.1 percent at 21,101.89 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for a holiday
Shanghai - Composite: Closed for a holiday
New York - Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 33,061.50 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0503 from $1.0506 on Monday
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2500 from $1.2489
Euro/pound: DOWN at 84.02 pence from 84.09 pence
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 130.08 yen from 130.16 yen
Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.3 percent at $106.23 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.5 percent at $103.63 per barrel
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